.

Operation manuals are worth their weight in gold.

I’ll tell you why designing your own has to be a priority.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

.

 

.

In this episode, I am going to be taking a closer look at your operations manual.

.

In the last episode, I looked at who you were and what job descriptions were needed to operate your hospitality property. I also talked about assigning the right people for each job, determine the specific tasks for each job and what is required to complete each task. This was to be done in an easy to follow, step-by-step checklist form.

.

When all the checklists are completed and compiled you have a working Operations Manual“.  

.

I would now like to dive into the actual operations manual itself, what is it going to look like, and how it is going to be used.

.

When opening up your completed operations manual, you should have nothing but a series of checklists and the checklists should be easy to find.

To do this you divide your checklists into categories and each category assigned a colour.

For example,

  • Housekeeping-blue
  • Customer service-red
  • Breakfasts-green
  • Accounting-yellow
  • Maintenance- orange
  • And on, and on, you get the idea.

Each checklist details the specific steps each housekeeper, front-desk agent, maintenance person, accountant etc, must take to do their job.

The checklists have to be very specific, with step-by-step instructions of what to do and in what order.

.

When a housekeeper opens a door, they do not always know what they will find. The last guest might have been extremely tidy and the room looks as good as it did when the guest first arrived or the room could be turned upside down.

My main instinct with the first room would be to start with the bathroom.

My instinct with the second room would be to grumble and then start with the bedclothes.

.

What’s the difference between these two scenarios?

I wasn’t consistent and when you’re not consistent, you miss things.

.

Today, when I open a room door, I would have a checklist in my hand and regardless of what the room looked like, I would start on my immediate left.

I would check the closet to make sure the guest did not forget anything; I would check the lamp to make sure the lights were working and was plugged in.

I would look in the dresser drawers to make sure the extra pillows and blankets were there. I would continue around the room checking off my list as I went to make sure nothing was missed.

My checklist would have a drawing of that particular room on the back of the page and as well as checking off my list, I would check off each area on the drawing as my tasks were completed. I would do the same in the bathroom, kitchenette, at the windows, and under the bed. My checklist would also have a space for any repairs required and if necessary, I would fill out a request for maintenance form.

The checklist would cover every detail of that room and when the checklist and drawings were all marked finished, I would feel confident that this room was complete.

I would then sign the bottom of the checklist confirming everything is done.

.

Now, you might have some on employees who do not like the idea of being monitored like this. I’ve heard some say they felt like children.

.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store knowing you had to pick up three items, get to the store, and only remember two of the items?

If you had a checklist, this would not be a problem.

If you run into this problem with employees not wanting to change, ask them how they would feel the next time they jumped on a flight, they found out the pilot and co-pilot did not do a pre-flight check or the next time their car was in for a safety inspection, the mechanic just looked at it and said “looks good to me”, without looking under the hood or when their child was in to see the doctor and the doctor just touched their head and said “perfectly healthy” … they might be a little concerned.

We have all heard the stories of the person going in for an operation and having the wrong leg amputated or lung removed. This happened because doctors went into the operating room assuming they knew what they’re doing. More and more hospitals are incorporating checklists into their day-to-day procedure.

.

You might say, these are very important, of course, they should do more checking.

Well, your business is very important and employees with a good work ethic are very important for your business.

With this step-by-step system in place, you will be ensured your employees will retain consistency and the chance to show real pride in their work.

.

Okay, back to housekeeping. 

.

So, the housekeeper arrives in the morning and checks their mailbox (they should have a mailbox) to find which rooms will be vacated that day and to get the appropriate package of checklists to go with each room. These would be prepared the night before you or by your night auditor.

Each room package would include the room checklist, maintenance or repair requests, and any special requests for incoming guests, as well as any other checklists you feel necessary.

As each room is completed, with both the front and back of the checklists signed, this package goes to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor can then do follow-up or spot checks to make sure nothing was missed.

This should not be taken personally, as in even the most organized companies there are times when things are missed. If this does happen regularly however, there might be grounds for reassignment or dismissal of the employee.

.

With a system like this in place, even a brand new employee would not require months or even weeks of training and monitoring, instead, they would be turning over rooms like a pro in no time.

.

Let’s look at customer service as another example.

.

You have a returning guest, and that guest has a file that indicates they had taken advantage of your spa their last visit.

When the customer arrives, your front-desk agent follows a checklist which includes, check guests likes and dislikes, they know to ask “Would you like me to book your spa appointment for this afternoon or tomorrow?” This is before the guest has even mentioned the possibility of a spa appointment.

They might not have planned to use the facility, but now given the option might consider taking advantage.

This is an excellent example of how a checklist could work for an upsell.

.

So, you might ask, “What else should I have a checklist for?” the simple answer-

.

EVERYTHING!

.

  • When the outdoor lights turn on
  • How much fruit should be in the bowl at reception and what it should look like?
  • What bills have to be paid and when
  • What items are recycled?
  • How the towels should be folded
  • How a uniform should be worn

You get the idea, everything should have a checklist, with diagrams.

.

If you have this system in place and work it properly, there will rarely be any errors – it works!

.

In no time, you will be amazed by the number of people to come up to you and thank you for the way they’ve been treated. In many cases, this will be due to the consistency which happens because of your checklists.

.

You might be thinking, “Following the same checklists every day, is going to get boring for me and my employees?”

.

I should mention here again that if your operation manual is complete and used properly, it is worth its weight in gold but that does not mean its set in stone. It has to be treated like a living, breathing entity.

If your employees are working off their checklists and come to you because there are aspects of it they do not like, you ask them “Okay, how would you change it?” and if they come up with a way that will improve the service and or save your business money, change it!

And after you change it, reward your employee.

This can be done financially, gift certificates or time off, if possible.

.

The only guideline you should have is that

.

“Any criticism is constructive and with an alternative option.”

.

Do these make sense? Let me know, leave a comment.

.

I have seen when employees have been given this type of freedom in the development of their work routine, they have come up with some great ideas and in turn a wonderful sense of pride.

I am interested in hearing from you.

Do you have a system in place that works?

.

Do you use hard copy (paper) for your system?

.

Or are you more high tech, using tablets or computers that link directly to a database?

.

If you are interested in more detail, I have included sample checklists for room inspection, maintenance requests, and a lost and found form in the Hospitality Property Organizational Structure” tutorial, eBooks, books on the subject. Links can be found on the top menu bar of KeystoneHospitalityDevelopment.com.

 .

.

In conclusion

Having an operations manual will not only ensure consistency in your property but can also be used as an invaluable tool for training current, new, and short term employees.

What do you think about our new “INNsider Tips” series released every Thursday? If you haven’t seen them yet, they are short weekly videos that are designed to help you, hospitality property owners and managers grow your property. Make sure to check the out at KeystoneHospitalityDevelopment.com or on YouTube by searching INNsider Tips.

 .

.

TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY CONSULTING:

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/KHDC196

 

Join one of our private groups

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/private-groups

 .

.

Say hi on social:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeystoneHDC

 .

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeystoneHDC

 .

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/keystone-hospitality-development

 .

.

Listen to The Hospitality Property School PODCAST here:

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/itunes-podcast

 .

https://www.spreaker.com/keystonehdc

 .

.

YouTube

https://youtu.be/yiVypnSIMds

 .

.

A Division of Keystone Hospitality Development Consulting